With The Avengers opening this week with its epic case of superheroes, we felt it was the right time to break down the best ever. So here, without further delay, is our list of the top 10 Avengers.
10. Wonder Man
A risky pick for number 10 on the list given his alternate statuses as a villain, a hero, an actor, and many times just not around. But his run during Kurt Busiek and George Perez’s late 90s relaunch solidified his role as a great, and important, member of the Avengers.
9. Scarlet Witch
Wanda Maximoff is slightly controversial. Daughter of Magneto, she, like her brother Quicksilver, was originally a villain before being given a second chance, along with Hawkeye a few issues into the original Avengers run. For much of the series history, she was alternately an extra and a central character with her love stories between the Vision and Wonder Man. It wasn’t until Kurt Busiek’s run in the late 90s/early 2000s that her character and her powers were fleshed out, that Wanda’s role in the Avengers was cemented and made important. While her role was later reverted to unwilling villain/mutant killer/eradicator status by Brian Michael Bendis, we’ll choose to overlook that.
8. Warbird/Captain Marvel/Ms. Marvel/Binary
Poor Ms. Marvel. She’s always trying to prove she belongs. A member of the air force, she was a soldier bound by duty, before an accident with Kree technology gave her incredible superpowers. As she sought the limelight and credit the being a hero brought, she found herself felled by none other than Rogue of the X-Men, who took a lot of her powers from Ms. Marvel
A robot created by Ultron, Vision is somewhat of a grandchild of Hank Pym and was designed to combat against the Avengers. He later rebelled against his creator and joined the team he was built to destroy. For much of his time in the Avengers, he has struggled with his robot exterior and his semi-human emotions, trying to find his true purpose in the world. For a time, he was married to the Scarlett Witch and even fathered two (magically created, thus not real) children. He’s been a mainstay in the Avengers for much of its history and is somewhat the Martian Manhunter of the crew.
6. Ant-Man/Giant-Man/Yellow Jacket
One of the founding members of the Avengers, Hank Pym has had a difficult run. His true north is Janet Pym, the Wasp, and he’s lost her and found her multiple times. Pym has suffered from multiple personality disorder, which has led to multiple identities and multiple superheroes, none worse for his psyche than the Yellowjacket character, who ultimately abused Janet Pym and ended their marriage. He also created Ultron, a robot that has tormented the Avengers for several decades. Still, Pym is dedicated to fighting his inner demons and righting his wrongs, and his genius status has helped thwart more than a fair share of near world-ending events.
5. The Wasp
Janet Pym may be small, and relatively powerless, but you have to give her credit: She named the Avengers! It was her idea at the end of Avengers #1 to call the group that, and she, like her husband, has been part of the group for most of its history. As the series moved past its beginnings, writers sought to move past her flighty personality and dedication to fashion, giving her some dark moments, and proving that she could emerge as a fighter. For many times, she’s even been the leader of the Avengers and looked to for valuable leadership qualities in times of crisis.
Hawkeye is very poorly fleshed out in the film, despite being pretty badass. His film counterpart is more of a depiction of the Ultimates Hawkeye than the original comic book title, where Hawkeye was once a thief given a chance at redemption first by Iron Man, then by Captain America with a chance to join the Avengers. Since then, he’s been a mainstay in the group for most of its history, often time providing either comic relief or being an antagonist to the rest of the group. Driven by a strict moral code, he’s willing to go to blows when he feels the Avengers have lost sight of what’s best.
Thor, like Captain America, may have consistently had their own titles, but their true roles in Marvel Comics were to participate in the Avengers. Thor is the Superman of the bunch, but this time he also adds some depth in his observation of the human race that Superman never does. He’s foreign, he’s a little old-fashioned. He’s a warrior, one sometimes prone to fulfilling base desires, but his character is vital to the dynamic of the Avengers. His presence in the series has been sorely missed in the last decade.
2. Iron Man
He may be the most fleshed-out of the Avengers in the film series, but in the comic books, he goes no higher than #2. But it’s close. Tony Stark funds the Avengers, provides the mansion and later tower they work out of and is one of the resident geniuses to help solve the threats, be it technological, alien, supernatural, or other. He is unquestionably a member of the Marvel equivalent to DC’s big 3.
1. Captain America
How can you not say that Captain America is the greatest Avenger? It’s a common misconception that Cap was a founding member of the Avengers, but he instead joined the crew in the series fourth issue, replacing the outgoing Hulk. Since then, he’s been the leader, the hero, and the heart of the gang. He’s the virtue of the group and has helped to anchor it through tough times, such as the Civil War storyline.